RESEARCH BEFORE YOUR
"Never, ever walk into an interview not knowing the company,
its products, its problems, its opportunities and its
competitors. Again, the answers are out there.
up enough facts to help you talk intelligently to your
potential employer. Failure to do so will mark you as a
half-hearted candidate ... and you will lose out to
other, better-prepared job seekers. Every time."
Donlin, author of "The Last Guide to Cover Letter & Resume
Writing You'll Ever Need"
WHY DO RESEARCH
BEFORE YOUR INTERVIEW?
You will be able to more fully
demonstrate your enthusiasm for the career field and the
You will also be able to articulate
how your skills, knowledge and values match those of the
organization and industry.
You can determine if this is an
organization to which you would want to devote the next few years of
your work life.
You can never know "too much" about an organization. Interviewers are
always impressed when you have conducted your research thoroughly and
can ask informed, intelligent questions about the organization and the
Before an interview,
you MUST educate yourself:
How does this industry work - what
do the organizations do, how do they make their money (or, in the
case of nonprofits and government agencies, how and whom do they
What are the skills and personal
qualities that successful professionals in this industry share?
What are the significant trends in
Keep up with industry
trends - read relevant "trade journals" and websites.
When you go for an interview, you should
absolutely know: the company, its products, its problems, its
opportunities and its competitors.
As you research, keep
this question in mind:
What are the skills and
personality characteristics that this job demands and this
organization values, and how does your experience and background
demonstrate those skills and traits?
Before your interview, you
should know the following (bare minimum):
What are this organization's
products and/or services? (Even non-profit organizations serve people
through education, lobbying efforts, publications, etc.)
What direction has the organization
taken within the past one to two years, and what might be expected
in the near future?
What does this organization value?
Obviously, for-profit organizations value profit. But most
organizations are driven by other values, as well - social
conformity; innovation; teamwork; efficiency; the professional
development of its employees; public service. You should search for:
a) what the organization states about its values, and b) what they
really are. The two are not always in agreement.
If you will be working in a
division of the organization, what is the role of that division, and
how does it relate to the parent organization?
are seeking a job above
have made it past the first-round interview and
have been asked back for another interview,
just want to be very well-prepared for your first-round
then you should look for the following
information about the employer:
of the organization.
- What products and
services are offered?
- Who are their
- What are the different
branches or divisions of the company?
- Place within the
industry, in comparison with other companies.
- Reputation. Do they
serve their customers well?
What is the quality of their products/services?
- Market niche. Do they
cover many industries?
One industry broadly? One little spot within an
- Corporate culture/work
These questions are often best
answered through speaking with current employees.
- What does the company
value? Is it teamwork? Uniformity? Being an
leader within the industry? Youth? Longevity? Commitment
to a certain social ideal?
- What is the workplace
like? Is there a dress code? Are people promoted from
within? Is innovation encouraged? Are there
opportunities for professional development and learning
stability and health.
- How old is the company?
- Have they been
profitable over the past few years?
- Have they been hiring
new employees recently? Laying people off?
- Are they planning new
- Are they planning on
- Specific Career Fields:
What you need to know for an
interview may depend on the type of job you are seeking. Here
are some examples:
If you're seeking a job as a
counsellor or social worker, you should try to find out what
the agency's philosophy and standard treatment practices are.
If you are seeking a finance
position, you should have a grasp on the company's financial
If you are seeking a
teaching position, you should have a clear understanding of
the standards for your grade level and subject.
If you are applying for a
marketing position, you should know how the company
positions itself within the industry and what its advertising
and marketing has looked like over the past several years.
You can find information
about the company from it's website and from recent news. Both can
be found through a search engine such as Google but don't depend solely on what the company tells you.
Behavioural Interview Questions
Traditional Interview Questions
Case Interview Questions
Company / Job
Questions determining your Competence
Questions on Wages / Salaries
Your Community Involvement